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Featured Folks: Week #7

Happy Johnson
50 Something, Retired Postal Worker

Happy Johnson is married and the mother of five grown children and five grandchildren. Last year Happy retired from the Beverly Hills Post Office in California after 32 years of service. Currently Happy is the caregiver for her 92 year-old mom, Maggie Valentine, who is a cancer survivor just like Happy. Happy volunteers with the American Cancer Society and Cancer Support groups here in the Ohio Valley and in Los Angeles.

When questioned about walking, Happy gave the following answers:

Why do you walk? I walk for my health. After having cancer, my joints are stiff and they ache due to some of the side effects of chemotherapy.

Why do you love walking? Really, I don't love walking. I walk to help keep my mind clear, and I need to loose weight. I could easily talk myself into staying in bed in the morning or doing anything else but walk. But I know that walking is good for me and in the long run walking helps me to have a better attitude and get healthy. If it weren't so easy, I probably wouldn't do it.

What is your toughest obstacle to walking? The hardest part is getting up, getting dressed, and taking the first step. Once I leave the house, I feel fine. The more I walk, the more I want to walk. I begin to feel better and to clear my mind.

What is your best advice for new walkers? I suggest new walkers take it slowly, and that they walk with a friend. It keeps it interesting and enjoyable. If you are a loner, listening to some good music and walking to the beat can help too.

What is the coolest benefit of walking? IT'S FREE! No machines to store in the corner, no special clothing except comfortable shoes, and you can walk any time of the day or night. There are no rules. I walk fast or slow depending on how I feel that day. I sometimes walk with a friend and sometimes I walk alone. Walking is something I can do anyway that I want to.

What is your biggest surprise about walking? I have made many lasting friendships by just getting out and walking. It is a way to socialize and meet people. The trails are great but you can even meet people in your own neighborhoods.

Happy Johnson is like so many of us. Exercising is not something that she likes to do. But walking is so easy; it is hard to not walk. Once you get started, you realize how much you enjoy it and how much better you feel jut by walking first ten minutes, then twenty minutes, and finally thirty minutes or more on almost every day. You can pick the time, the place, the music, alone or with a friend. Walking is something you can control and something you can do easily - by yourself and for yourself!


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